A summary of articles and posts with relevant content and interest to industry, colleagues and clients.

A recent Court of Appeal case in New South Wales has highlighted potential responsibilities for practitioners when taking Will instructions. By way of background Section 8 of the Succession Act 2006 (NSW), outlines “When may the Court dispense with the requirements for execution, alteration or revocation of wills?” (1) This section applies to a document, [...]

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Under our compulsory superannuation system, most Australian workers have a Superannuation Account via their employer and also, as a result, have some form of life and disability insurance. In some cases that cover lapses when you change jobs. Sometimes they lapse unless you specify that payments are made for the premiums form your accumulated balance. [...]

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The New South Wales government has recently launched a new campaign aimed at increasing the communities understanding of wills, powers of attorney and appointment of enduring guardians. The campaign is monogrammed as: Get it in Black & White Planning Ahead Tools for future legal, health and financial decisions According to the Attorney General, “Only five [...]

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Early last year I write on disproportionality in family provision estate litigation. In October this year the Victorian Law Reform Commission tabled its final report to parliament with recommendations on various succession law amendments. Two of these revolved around tightening up who can claim under family provision laws against estates and who has to pay [...]

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Notional estate is a concept only applicable at present in New South Wales (NSW) and involves the ability to add back to the actual estate assets or values previously gifted or distributed by the deceased or even other assets that are not normally considered Estate assets, ie, Superannuation Funds. It is used in calculation of [...]

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In 2012, we were contacted to assist with the estate of a deceased South African resident. The contact was made as the deceased had accounts with one of Australia’s major banks. The Deceased Estate Team at the bank had advised that they would need an Australian Grant and that if they required assistance they should [...]

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Recently I had the great fortune of spending three weeks in the UK. Ostensibly this was a combined work / cricket club tour. The later was more sitting than cricket as 6 of our 9 games were washed out completely!! From the work front I spent most of my time visiting firms in the centre [...]

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Charles Dickens’s Bleak House was a story about a disputed Will and the cost ravages of lawyers. The Australian Institute of Judicial Administration has recently issued a publication “Bleak House Revisited? Disproportionality in Family Provision Estate Litigation in NSW and Victoria”. The publication has arisen due to the alarming number of legal cases recently where [...]

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A substantial number of off-market share transfers I attend to for New Zealand clients involve a transfer to the trustees of a family trust. Despite protestations over the years the share registries in Australia, acting under CHESS and ASX Listing Rules are unable to recognise the Trust itself as the registered owner of the shares. [...]

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If so you may encounter problems in the event of the death of a client. It appears as though most New Zealanders who have purchased an interest in a time-share property in Australia have had their title at the land titles office registered as tenants in common, where in most cases they should be registered [...]

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The Personal Property Securities (PPS) reform brings together over 70 different Commonwealth, State and Territory laws and registers under one national system. It introduces the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 and an online PPS Register. The planned date for registration commencement time is 31 October 2011. (only 2 years after the Act!!) Personal property is [...]

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On 24 January 2011 the ASX released amendments to Listing Rule 8.14, permitting companies to enhance their fraud detection practices specific to off-market transfers, and charge a fee for the additional work involved. Essentially the company is not charging but their share registry is on their behalf. In past years companies and their registries have [...]

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Recent debate in NSW highlights the potential risk to Legal Personal Representatives and their legal advisers when distributing estate assets to beneficiaries who may be bankrupt. There is often a mistaken belief that advertising to creditors of the estate of a deceased for any claims prior to distribution is all that is needed to protect [...]

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Most readers would be aware that Australia has a Compulsory Superannuation regime. It is covered by Commonwealth law and has its own legislation. This differs from the probate laws which are all State based. Further as the original essence of super law was to provide retirement benefits it is inherent in the Act and the [...]

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Recently I was contacted by an individual in New Zealand whose father had passed away in Australia. She was not in touch with the second wife of her father who was purportedly the executor and sole beneficiary of the small estate. The individual was not so concerned as to being a beneficiary but wanted proper [...]

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Many readers and their clients would have seen “offers” for shares at either well below market price or at market price with the proceeds payable over a 15 year period. Some “specialist” operators have been extremely successful and become very wealthy out of these offers. Background For many years it has been permissible to obtain [...]

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The Succession Amendment (Intestacy) Act (NSW) will commence on 1 March 2010 and will simplify the asset distribution process when a person dies without a will. As a general rule previously intestate estate distribution is firstly to the immediate family, the spouse and children; then in their absence to a various next of kin and [...]

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In the beginning of 1999 a seed was sewn in my thoughts about going it alone. After many years at a large institution and many takeovers by various Global Insurance Companies, enough of the Corporate Games was enough. On 6 July 2009 APEARS was born with a grand total of zero existing work and potential [...]

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Some readers may be aware of the complications involving superannuation death benefit payments in Australia. Superannuation is governed by the Commonwealth as compared with normal estate law which is a State governed law. Furthermore the Trust Deeds often contradict the Law! The majority of Superannuation benefits are made up of an insured component and the [...]

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In a recent case that went to the NSW Supreme Court on Appeal the court made provision against the crown. In the case of Smile v Public Trustee [2008] NSWCA 190 two former step sons of the deceased successfully appealed against an earlier decision in the lower courts. The basic facts of the case were [...]

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Previously I have briefly mentioned some of the complexities involved with the administration of Superannuation benefits in Australia. Superannuation is compulsory in Australia employees of whatever level of employment and as a result a certain part of the salary is paid out into a superannuation fund by their employer. Most of these have as part [...]

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